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Double meters for single goal: Check power theft

INTRODUCTION OF double-metering in theft-prone industrial units may turn out to be a boon for the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL), if the results achieved so far are any indication.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2006 01:42 IST

INTRODUCTION OF double-metering in theft-prone industrial units may turn out to be a boon for the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL), if the results achieved so far are any indication.

After the UPPCL installed double meters at industrial units of 500 kva load and above, the energy consumption was found to have shot up, in some cases by as much as 50-60 per cent or more. Overall consumption in the double-metered units in the State has increased by 12.20 per cent.

Under double metering, a concept introduced only a few months ago, the department installs an additional meter at a ‘safe’ distance from the industrial unit. The energy consumption recorded by the meter already installed inside a unit and the one recorded by the meter outside is compared to know if the meter inside is being tampered with. Action is taken accordingly. Thus, consumers stop tampering with their original meters.

Statistics prepared by the UPPCL chairman’s back office show that in the Meerut discom, double-metering was done in around 300 units with a load of over 500 kva. Power consumption in these units jumped by 12.74 per cent. Consumption shot up by 14.41 per cent in Agra, where double metering has almost been completed in 741 units.

In Lucknow and  Varanasi discoms, consumption increased by 10.71 per cent and 6.66 per cent, respectively.

Initially, double-metering was  done in ice-factories and cold-storages, that too if the load was above 500 kva. But encouraged by the results, the UPPCL is now planning to bring more consumers into the double-metering net. For this, it is identifying the theft-prone industries, irrespective of their load.  Among them are flourmills, wire-drawing factories, plastic mould factories, oil expellers, roller mills, apart from ice factories and cold storages.

But it is not an easy task. The UPPCL field staff are already facing protests from the industries which are also pressuring the management to discontinue the system.

Significantly, the UPPCL gets around 35 per cent of the total revenue from the large and heavy industries. “The department will get at least Rs 250 crore revenue more every year, even if there is an average increase in consumption by 12 per cent, after the double-metering work in large and heavy industries is complete,” said an official at the Back Office.

UPPCL managing director Avnish Awasthi said the results of double-metering were quite encouraging all over the State. “It has made it difficult for consumers to tamper with their meters,” he said.